The Return of my Beautiful Barn Swallows
They Have Arrived....April 6, 2011
We had just returned home from the thriving metropolis of Independence, Kansas, to our country farm. I opened the front door and entered, arms laden with many purchases from town. No sooner had I put everything down when I heard my friend's voice calling to me. I went into "alert," thinking something dire had just happened. I ran to the front door, threw it wide open and ran to the porch. There stood Al, with a big smile on his face.
"The swallows are here." I didn't hear him.
What did you say?" I asked.
He pointed to the sky. I immediately saw them! In beautiful, stealth and rapid flight. The beloved Barn Swallows.
They dipped and darted across the sky. Delicate yet strong, these tiny beings soar through the air. Almost immediately, the two headed for the Southeast corner of our front porch where their homes awaited; covered with protective roof and untouched by anything which might have harmed the strongly constructed aeries.
We have witnessed their arrival for 5 years now. I always await their return. Anticipation begins to build as the warmer days emerge; expecting to see the quick, agile flight of these gorgeous creatures.
He looked back at me and I felt the warm sting of tears which had spontaneously started to flow. I was so very happy to see them again that emotion overtook me. I am so in love with the Swallows.
There are two nests on the front porch of the main house and two nests which rest under the Southern eave of the cabin. We have left these intact on purpose so that our beautiful birds will have no rebulding to do; no new structures to complete before they can begin their new nesting.
Each year, my favorite couple takes up residence in the front porch nests. I say 'nests' because, one year, they had such difficulty with Black Snakes attacking the original nest that they built a new one nearby but further out so that the snakes would have more difficulty reaching it. We never disturb the nests; always watch out that they are not harmed by other birds or weather and wait for their rightful inhabitants' return.
We watched as this particular couple chatted away as they flew around this familiar home. I have become so familiar with their musical communication. They seem to be so much more vocal than the other Swallows who return to our farm. Why they come this far is a mystery to me but one which brightens my days and gives me joy.
There have been 4 successful years of rearing young Swallows. Last season, the couple actually produced three hatchings of offspring. And each had 6 babies! What fun it is to watch as the parents work overtime feeding the youngsters. Before long, tiny heads appear and, more quickly than one can imagine, the young birds are ready to take flight.
So, here again, this year, my Swallows have come home. They trust us. They've grown to know us and that we will not harm them. The adults have actually seen us fighting off Black Snakes as they approach the side of the house in search of young chicks. We've been very successful at capturing several snakes, placing them in containers for removal to safe but far places.
I have never, nor will I ever, seek to learn the lifespan of these fantastic birds. I mourn the day when the two will not return; and I worry each year that it may be the year. But, so far, my favorite duo has come to nest again. And I will watch out for their safety and wellbeing.
I'll miss these elegant flyers when I leave this place. This year may be the last time I see my Barn Swallows. It makes my throat tighten and sadness begins when I consider this. God Bless my beautiful Barn Swallows.
I so love the beautiful Barn Swallows!
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